Friday, September 5, 2014

Third Rate Game Play: Ape Escape 3

Game: Ape Escape 3

System: PlayStation 2

Developer: SCE Japan Studio

Publisher: Sony

Player: Tony

Experience: Played Ape Escape 1/2 before


While Sony of the PlayStation One era is best known for its mascots Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, Sony's Japanese division had developed its own set of franchises, the most prominent being Ape Escape.  By the time Ape Escape 3 released, the series had seen as many as six games, and the PlayStation 2 was nearing its end.  For Sony, the Ape Escape series had become a staple to SCEI, what is now SCE Japan Studio.  However, with development moving to PlayStation 3 and the series on a downward trend, this would be the last major Ape Escape release in the United States.

Ape Escape released on the PlayStation in May 1999 and was touted as an adventure game requiring use of the new Dual Shock Controller in order to more accurately maneuver and use items in the game world.   Ape Escape was developed by SCEI with Kenji Kaido as its lead Game Designer.  While the game was a massive success for Sony, Kaido would not return to the franchise; he would become a top Producer in the creation of Tomba! 2, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus before leaving Sony officially in 2012.  Game composer Soichi Terada would remain a major composer throughout the remainder of the series.

Ape Escape had done so well that Sony announced two sequels to it at once: Pipo Saru 2001 and Ape Escape 2.  Pipo Saru 2001 was the first official spin-off of the series, involving the vacuuming of monkeys’ pants rather than capturing the monkeys themselves; this game would be Star Fox designer Dylan Cuthbert’s last title within Sony before forming Q-Games.  As for Ape Escape 2, it took nearly two years for the game to release stateside, and when it did, it was published by Ubisoft.  The series' second mainline title had earned a new Director, Naoto Ohta, who would remain with the series thereafter.

Between the release of Ape Escape 2 and its third iteration, the series took a turn to a more party-game focus.  This phase began with 2004’s Ape Escape: Pumped and Primed which was structured more like Mario Party or Sonic Shuffle.  That same year, those cheeky monkeys stared in their own EyeToy game, EyeToy: Monkey Mania.  On a portable front, Ape Escape: On the Loose was a remake of the original for the PlayStation Portable, and a mini-game series Ape Escape Academy had become established as well (co-developed by h.a.n.d. which had previously developed Final Fantasy: Chocobo Tales for Square-Enix).

Official Word
Specter and the monkeys are back and determined to rule the world. Under Specter's command, the mischievous monkeys are taking control of your television and airing programming that will cloud the mind of anyone who watches. Heroes Kei and Yumi dash through the TV studios capturing monkeys just as their outrageous shows hit the airwaves. Help us stop this primetime primate invasion!
-Official Description
Game Details

Ape Escape 3, like the other mainline Ape Escape titles, is a third-person action adventure title in which players are tasked to capture a set number of monkeys who populate each stage.  This requires usually knocking out said monkeys and capturing them with advanced Time Nets which send them back to the lab.  The biggest gameplay emphasis is on the use of the Dual Shock controller; the game relies on one stick to move the character and the other to interact with whatever invention the player is controlling at the time.

In Ape Escape 3, evil monkey Specter has returned yet again, this time invading the airwaves and taking over television.  The previous games' protagonists have unfortunately already fallen victim to the mind-melting television shows, so it is up to newcomers Kei and Yumi to work together and stop Specter once again!

Besides the ability for players to control a female protagonist for the first time in the mainline series, Ape Escape 3 introduces new transformations which the heroes can use to gain special abilities to more effectively capture monkeys and defeat Specter and his Freaky Monkey Five.  In between each stage, players can shop at stores in order to regain hitpoints and more.  Furthermore, the game is known for an odd crossover mini-game Mesal Gear Solid: Snake Escape, in which players control a Monkey on a mission to save Solid Snake and destroy a monkey-shaped Metal Gear.  This game was made to coincide the release of Konami and Kojima Productions' Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which had its own mini-game in which Solid Snake hunted down monkeys for capture.


Ape Escape 3 is the last major title in the Ape Escape series as of today, with the remaining titles being spin-off titles involving the Apes themselves.  A year after Ape Escape 3, Japan received Ape Escape Million Monkeys, a more action-based Ape Escape game.  In 2006, Sony released Ape Escape Racing, developed in part by SCEI and Epics (also known for working on Intelligent Qube, Stand Alone Complex, and the PSP port of Parappa the Rapper).  Developer h.a.n.d. would also produce another spin-off, Ape Escape SaruSaru Big Mission, in which the heroes are shrunk within a helmet-shaped lab, allowing them the ability to control monkeys who wear it.  The only western-developed Ape Escape game is Ape Quest, a downloadable PSP game (retail-only in Japan) in which players control Apes on an epic medieval adventure.  The series’ last title was PlayStation Move Ape Escape, released in 2011 as a light-gun adventure using PlayStation Move controllers to capture monkeys.  Outside of sightings in other Sony-published games, the Ape Escape series has remained dormant ever since.

Series Director Naoto Ohta has not been noted in any particular game via MobyGames since Ape Escape 3, but then again, none of the aforementioned latter Ape Escape games have been put in, either, so I assume he had a role in at least some of these products.  His current position is unknown in the company.

Game Play

In this episode, we had taken a long break (funny, we're doing that right now...and these videos are getting years old), but we wanted to try out a game that we had from GameFly.  It turned out to be Ape Escape 3, a game whose series we were familiar with.  So, why not try it out for an episode and see what happens?


Not as much happened as we would have liked, for sure.  For one, we were recording late after a long absence of recording, and as a result, we were not into it as well as we could.  I was not as interested in the game as I thought I would be, and minutes into the game, we came to a conclusion that we had played the game before...or at the very least, experienced the game in some fashion earlier in our lives and blotted it out for reasons we still cannot address.

The quality of our jokes mixed with the middling quality of our playtime made the hour run way too long for us to enjoy, and as such, this episode was cut down to be as condensed as can be.  Either way, the episode was not the greatest, as is the case with the game itself.  If you played Ape Escape 2, you may have also played Ape Escape 3.

Now we just need to release these more consistently.

3RM Says: I honestly don't know why I was hired for this banana show, but
the director and cameraman are starting to look a bit uneasy toward me...
...erm, t-time for lunch, guys?

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